With the native population of Cairo decimated, the Ottoman Turks are able to rule without the uprising of the suppressed peoples. Just in history, people of the same religion have killed each other to gain power over each other, as Amin Maalouf proves in the Book of Cairo. The final set of incidents in Leo Africanus is in the Book of Rome. The Christian reformers known as the Lansquenets led an uprising in Rome to separate them selves from the Catholic Church of Rome. Believing them to have the right to break apart from the Church, the Lansquenets sacked Rome, “…
Totally absorbed in their pillaging, orgies, and drunkenness. ” In Rome, the Lansquenets committed unchristian like actions against the innocents living in Rome, believing it was the necessity of their new religion, Lutheranism. Being secured in Castel San Angelo, Hasan describes the onslaught of the lansquenets and the destruction they have caused in Rome. “By the God who caused me to traversed the wide world, by the God who has made me live through the torments of Cairo and those of Granada, I have never encountered such bestiality, such hatred, such bloody destruction, such pleasure in massacre, destruction and sacrilege!
” this quote proves that the Lansquenets use their authority of religion to commit the atrocities they committed in Rome. In sacking Rome, the Lansquenets would attack the Church by destroying the sacredness of church ideas. “Would anyone believe me if I were to say that the nuns were raped on the alters of the churches before being strangled by laughing lansquenets? ” Since the nuns symbolize the Church, the Lansquenets defile the sacredness of the purity of the nuns as a way to express their rebellion against the Church.
“Would anyone believed me if I were to say that the monasteries were sacked, that the monks were relieved of the habits and forced under the threat of the whip to trample on the crucifix and proclaim that they worshipped the cursed Satan, that the old manuscripts from the libraries fed huge bonfires, around which drunken soldiers danced, that no sanctuary, no palace, no house, escaped being looted, that eight thousand citizens perished, mostly from among the poor, while the rich were held hostage until their ransom was paid?
” In this excerpt, Hasan describes how the Lansquenets destroyed most of Rome in order for them to gain their independence from the Papacy and the Catholic Church. It seems that the Lansquenets use their religion as an excuse to get rid of the church’s power and establish their own power in Europe. Although people commit atrocities to other people in the name of their religion, it is only a power struggle that lies beneath religion.
During Hasan’s time, for example, the Castilians use their religion to eradicate the other religions in Spain, to make it a unified kingdom without the Muslims or Jews to threaten their rule. The Ottoman Turks use religion to kill off the native populace in Cairo so the Ottoman Turks are able to rule without the threat of other ethnic groups. The Lansquenets use religion to separate themselves from another power, in this case, the Catholic Church, and to establish their own power in Europe.
In Leo Africanus, it is evident that people have committed appalling crimes in the name of religion, but its desire for power, not religion, that causes conflict with the other people in Hasan’s time. Work Cited Maalouf, Amin. Leo Africanus. Trans. Peter Sluglett. Chicago: New Amsterdam, 1992.